In March, for the fourth time in my oldest blog’s life, I decided to move my web hosting. Digitally speaking moving web hosting is pretty much on a par with moving house in real life. This is the first time I have done this since becoming a spoonie and I thought I would share my journey with you so you can be fully prepared if you decide to make the leap yourself.
Why Move Hosting?
There were three factors that led to me making this decision
- The Cost
Let me break this down a little and explain my thoughts.
With my previous web host, I had to pay once a year and the bill came to a whole month of my PIPS. In reality, this means that after Christmas I would have to basically not buy anything (other than monthly outgoing bills) to allow for the cost in March. My new host charges monthly and even if added up to the annual cost it is less than 50% of what I was paying! Web Hosting costs like other utility bills can continue to see an increase in price after often giving a sensibly priced first year. My new hosting company doesn’t have this first-year discount model. The affordable price is ongoing.
I run my WordPress blogs using the Divi theme which I love for so many reasons. Even though my previous web host was one of their recommended companies I have found that it seemed to be running slowly (I hope you have not had too many problems at your end). This problem leads directly into the third one, namely support.
The whole reason for the existence of platforms like WordPress is that someone can run a website/blog without having any coding experience. (I have had some basic knowledge for a few years but I have begun some proper training now.) With my previous web host, I had their Go Geek level account which provided a high level of support. In the past, I had received the necessary level of help when something went wrong. But in the last year or two that began to change. I would have a perfectly pleasant first level of response who would escalate the case to the tech team. On at least three occasions they basically came back to me and said I should pay a coder to resolve the issue. With what? I do not have an income from my blogs and that is why they are there to provide support.
Choosing a New Web Host Company
Once I began shopping around it came down to a choice of two. One of them is a large international company and the hosting didn’t include email, so I would have to source this separately. The one I decided to go with Solid Blue Liquid, is based within the UK (supporting local-ish… business) and they provide email hosting within the account. It was really quite a simple choice.
A Trustworthy Company
If I had any doubts (which I didn’t) over my decision of who to move to. They would have been swept away immediately. After I had cracked on and ordered the new hosting I received a phone call from them, to save me money as they didn’t believe I required one of the extra services I had added on. I have never experienced a company ringing you to reduce your spending, it is often the opposite and you receive an email trying to upsell you extra products. This was a big tick from me.
Moving Web Hosting
When it came to actually move the web hosting this was the easiest part. Solid Blue advertised that they will move one of your blogs for you but as my website were all together within my previous hosting they were happy to move them all for me. You know when you move house and you have to inform everyone of your new address, it is just like that with web hosting.
Changing the Name Servers
Once you (or your new web host company) have physically moved the files of your website across, the next stage is to log into the account where you purchased your domain name and update the name servers to point to your new hosting. This is a really simple process and the majority of hosting companies have a help guide to show you what to do. Then you need to wait for the internet to catch up, it usually states to give it 24 to 48 hours but in reality, it is often sorted quicker than that.
Remembering to update everything!
This is where I failed a little bit. Although the actual website name servers were all sorted I forgot about my extra services. In my case, this included SendFox which I use to do my blog post email notifications and updates and Switchy that I use as my domain-based URL shortener. If you don’t have extra services like these, don’t worry all your moving will be done.
When I first moved I had a couple of teething problems and the owner contacted me in person and helped to sort it out. This is one of the benefits of using a small local company. With all my previous web hosting companies I have barely been aware of who owned them, much less have a direct line to them. On the other hand, the downside of using a small company is when they had a problem with the hardware it caused a short period of downtime, in contrast, a large company will probably have your websites hosted across a range of web servers. If you are a blogger of my sort of scale this is an inconvenience, if you make a living through your blog you may prefer the security of an international web host.
Learning the New Tools
My previous host used CPanel and Sold Blue Liquid does also but there are a few differences in the layout. I have picked it up pretty quickly and there are web guides provided to help you get used to the different tools. Some companies seem to be moving away from CPanel usage so if you are thinking of moving it may be worth checking out what platform the host you are considering moving to uses. If it is a massive change make sure it is one you will be comfortable with.
Why do you Need Hosting?
It is possible that you have created a WordPress or Blogger blog using their built-in hosting. This means that your blog address will have either of these brand names within it. For the first three or four weeks of my blog, I used the basic free WordPress set up. However, I quickly learnt that this is absolutely fine if your blog is personal or just for fun. If at any point you are hoping to have any sort of professional relationship. This includes things like sponsored posts and affiliate links. The companies would expect you to have your own independent domain name.
If this is something you think you need to do, the quicker you make the change the easier it will be. Every post you have written before the change will need to be redirected to your new domain. If purchasing domains and redirecting them is something you would like me to cover, let me know in the comments or via social media. I would be happy to do this.
If you are considering moving web hosting, or even if you are staying with your current provider. It is worth making sure they include SSL certificates. The majority of web hosts do Let’s encrypt Certificates for free these days. If you are unsure what I mean, I am talking about the padlock feature you see in the browser before the web address. Although these are compulsory for banking and retail websites you really need to be using one if you store any user details, even if it is someone’s email address in the comment section.
If I visit any website that isn’t encrypted these days I am reluctant to hang around longer than it takes to read an article, and I am far more clued up to possible dangers or equally the lack of them. Someone who is less digitally aware may well not even stay that long. If you do not have an encryption certificate on your blog I thoroughly recommend you speak to your hosting provider. If they don’t provide them (or charge for them) I suggest you consider moving.
Did you catch the last blog post?
Last month I talked about The Value of RSS feeds, both as a blogger and a blog reader. It is worth checking it out if you missed it. There is more than one Fibro blogger I have been unable to follow because their RSS feeds are not working correctly.
Has this Been Useful?
If you are considering moving web hosting I hope you have found this useful. If so I would be grateful if you could share it on your preferred social media platforms so others can find it too. If you have any questions please pop them in the comments below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.